tam names

Two days back I received an email from my HR informing everyone that a certain “rokini” was celebrating her birthday that day. Initially i found the name very unusual for a tam (her last name gave it away that she was tam) but then realized that it was just a “different” way of spelling “rohini”. Thankfully she didn’t spell it as “rogini”, which in sanskrit based languages means “diseased woman”.

Thing with tamil, as i have explained in my first ever blogpost, the tamil alphabet is very limited and practices polymorphism. For example, a single character represents K, Kh (as in khaana, khanna, etc.), G, Gh and some vague guttural version of n. Apart from polymorphism “along the rows”, there are some other peculiarities as well. There is no H sound in tamil, nor is there a letter to represent S or Sh, which are both represented by the “ch” sound.

What has happened is due to increased aryan influences, a number of tams have sanskrit-based names (in fact most tams I know have sanskrit names). Unfortunately, many of them can’t be accurately written in Tam, and hence get grossly mis-spelt. So you get Rokini for Rohini, and Braggasam for prakasam and gobal for gopal etc.

\begin{Update}One of the most popular bloggers in India is supposed to be Kiruba Shankar. When I first heard his name I burst out laughing because in Kannada, “kiruba” means “hyena” and whoever would have such a name! Then i realized it must be “krupashankar”. Writing “krupa” in tam and then transliterating it to english would yield “kiruba”. Strong. \end{Update}

So my dear tams, in order to prevent us from laughing at the funny ways in which you spell your names, I hereby exhort you to take on purely Dravidian names only. Listen to Periyar. Remember the dravidian movement. Chuck all the sanskrit in the names. And take on pure tam names. I’m sure you can’t misinterpret spellings with “Senthil” or “Anbazhagan” right!

Postscript Speaking of spellings, I don’t think the way I spell my name (Karthik) is accurate enough, though it is the most widely accepted spelling. Something like “kaartik” might be more accurate. However, it all depends on how you want to transliterate the Ta (as in tomato) and ta (as in pasta) into english.

This time the lenses weren’t at fault

It’s not too often that i write a serious story. I can’t recall having written too many of them. They take too much time to write, you need to go through multiple iterations, and you need a good storyline.

I have been working on one such for the last six months. The first draft came out in early june. the inspiration for the story comes from a personal experience of course. The characters in the story are BASED ON real people. The story itself, though, is a work of fiction and any resemblance it bears to any real incident(s) is unintended and purely coincidental. I begin.

Continue reading “This time the lenses weren’t at fault”

Recruitment… Bhaaga eraDu

So i did go to IIT Madras last week to recruit. Turned out pretty good in the end. We found around six really good candidates and it was a tough decision whittling it down to the final three to whom we have made offers. We are very happy with the entire process and also with the people we finally got, and I must say that placements at IITM are much much better than they used to be when i was there – both in terms of opportunities and organization.

Continue reading “Recruitment… Bhaaga eraDu”


An extremely pathetic attempt at writing a really short story

When the bad patch in the relationship finally came to an end, they decided not to bury the ghost. Instead, they cremated it and inhaled the fumes. The ashes were used to lend strength to the foundation for the next phase of the relationship. By making their stormy past a part and parcel of their present, they had ensured that the future stood on strong ground.

a few kannada movie titles with translations…

AK47 – automatic kalashnikov whatever…
om – how do i translate this?
ssshhhhhhhhh? – a strange sound of silence or whatever…
swastik (the symbol, not the words) – no translation
huchcha – madman
namma basava – our bull
appu – baby elephant
thaayi kotta seere – the sari that mother gave
karulina koogu – the cry of the uterus womb (thanks AHP for pointing out)
H2O – supposed to have lots of meanings. ranging from water to “hero to zero”
mona lisa
police dog?
dakota express
– a train going to some states in the US
Mental Manja
live band
lathi charge

tarle nan maga
– my naughty son
super nan maga
– my super son
muddina maava – dear father in law
rupayi raja – king of rupees
thumbida mane – full house
rowdy MLA
hello yama
~ hello St. Peter
jipuna nanna ganda – my miserly husband

Guess that should be enough fro now. Apologies for not providing translations for a few, but i guess they are mostly self-explanatory

Deadly Soma

more learning from Gods

Recently I had written about certain lessons I have learnt from Hindu Myth. Here are a couple more, which are perhaps more relevant in the corporate context.

Ganesha Subramanya

Ganesha and Subramanya had a race as to who could go round the world faster. Subramanya immediately jumps on his peacock, which is the fastest thing in the world, and instructs it to go round the world as fast as possible. He makes it in a reasonable amount of time.

Ganesha thinks different. “It’s a small world”, he reckons, “and my parents will be impressed if I tell them that they are my world”. So he just goes round his parents, and wins the race.

Most companies are like Subramanya. Got a tough deadline? They hire the best peacocks and flog them in order to do a quick job. Great companies are those that follow the Ganesha paradigm – they get a good reason, and take the easy way out!


Each minute of Brahma is supposed to last several thousands of human years (I’m not too sure of the exact number). Similarly if someone says “this job should take only a few minutes”, you should quickly understnad that it is a “few minutes” according to Brahma Standard Time. Similarly, you have “I’ll get back to you in a minute” or “I’ll join you in a minute”. All according to Brahma Standard time.

Let me know if you can think of more such analogies…

probability distribution of terrorist attacks

Following the planned terrorist attacks 2 days ago on UK-US planes, security has been beefed up majorly all over the world. I reached Mumbai airport at 5:15 for a 6:20 flight to Bangalore and I boarded the flight on the last call. Procedures have been intensified, there are multi-colored stamps on the boarding pass, and all such.

I’m sure these intensified measures will be in place for a couple of months or so after which they will die a slow death. In a few months’ time, things will be back to normal.

Now, I would like to try and figure out whether the “process” of “terrorist attack” is Markovian. Whether the fact that there was a foiled attack a couple of days ago increases or decreases the probability of an attack today.

On one hand, terrorists might have planned a series of attacks all around the world in a short period of time, and hence if it were in London on Thursday, it could be in Mumbai today. For example, the Mumbai blasts last month were serial – the first blast was followed by seven others in an hour.

On the other, having tried to attack 2 days back, terrorists now know that there will be heightened security today so they are more likely to attack next month than attack today.

The net effect could be that the two things (and many more such factors) cancel out, and indeed make the distribution of worldwide terrorist attacks markovian. Can someone provide me the necessary data with which i can test this?

As an aside, due to the strict enforcement of the “one handbag per head” rule today, there was plenty of space in the overhead cupboards on board today.

my latest love story…

i think it’s finally time to spill the beans on this one. don’t ask me who the girl is, though. i’ve sworn secrecy. i begin

lost in thought yesterday, i kinda remembered why i got in touch with her in the first place. it was march 2005. a few days after the dire straits concert. the days when i used to crib that this friend of mine was troubling me with her cribbo SMSs and was expecting me to provide emotional support. and that was the term when we learnt investments, under the wonderful Prof. Vaidyanathan. and that was the time when we learnt portfolio theory.

now, there was some day when i was really bored and had no one to talk to. a little analysis revealed a glaring incompleteness in my portfolio – all my friends whom i regularly kept in touch with was in IIMB. so, with the ongoing end-terms and submissions there, everyone seemed busy and i didn’t have too many people outside of IIMB to generally talk and crib to.

my brilliant mind put two and two together and realized that “investing” in this woman would diversify my portfolio and help me handle stuff better. the investment started paying dividends immediately (in terms of tlaking to me). and i continued to invest more in that.

soon a time came (jan06) when i suddenly realized that i had overhedged and what was originally the hedge had now become my primary investment! and that it was an extremely volatile stock i had invested in (i had somehow ignored the volatility all these months, though i was fully aware of it). and now i had to invest more in friends at IIMB, who were originally my “investment” to hedge the overhedge! somehow at that point of time i didn’t have too much heart to sell the volatile hedge, since it had till then provided pretty good returns and not caused too much downfall. so i invested more in the hedge-of-the-hedge.

however, soon after we graduated that stock started showing its real volatility. like the BSE Sensex at that point of time (and now), it kept hitting new heights and depths each day. and caused much heartburn. and refused to declare dividends even. a couple of falls were incredibly hard then, and i decided enough was enough. i sold the stock, albeit at a much lower price than i had bought it at.

now, once again, i have an unhedged mostly-IIMB-only portfolio! and a mutual fund called orkut to partially hedge it.